Oregon Local News – Libraries halt fines for overdue children’s books

Hillsboro’s two libraries and others in the Washington County Cooperative Library Services system will stop charging overdue fines for children’s materials beginning next month.

Library patrons in Washington County will no longer be charged for overdue children’s materials, beginning Thursday, June 1.

All Washington County Cooperative Library Services (WCCLS)‘ children’s materials will become fine-free regardless of who checks out the items, the cooperative announced this month.

According to WCCLS, this helps families that prefer to use one card for all their checkouts, as well as parents, teachers, home-schoolers and others who use early literacy and children’s materials.

This June 1 change coincides with the 2017 summer reading program kick-off.

“We’re hoping families will sign up their children knowing that the barrier of fines is going away,” said WCCLS Director Eva Calcagno. “We want all Washington County kids to read this summer.”

The policy change affects all of Washington County’s 18 member libraries, including Hillsboro’s Brookwood and Shute Park libraries, the North Plains Library and the Cornelius Library.

“We’re definitely hoping that it leads to more families using the library again, especially during summer reading,” said Jerianne Thompson, manager of the Tualatin Public Library. Thompson said removing fines was a “crucial” opportunity for children and teenagers to continue their learning during the longest break in the academic year.

WCCLS will continue to bill patrons for replacement charges for all materials that are never returned or are lost or damaged.

Fine rates for young adult and adult materials in all formats will become 25 cents per day starting July 1.

Only about 3.7 percent of checked-out WCCLS items come in overdue.

WCCLS assesses fines as an incentive to return materials, not as a punishment or to generate revenue, library officials have said.

“We’re not trying to punish kids, and we’re not trying to punish anybody,” Thompson…

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